Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Traditions and Rituals

I've been thinking this week about traditions and rituals.  Most often, the traditions I created were associated with Holidays, Birthdays, and events such as the first day of school.  Through the years, there was time spent in the reading of books, perusing of seasonal articles, and asking friends about their traditions.

It was important to me that I created traditions in our home, not having brought many with me from childhood.  It is even more a blessing as I see my children bringing their traditions to their own homes, often added to traditions their spouse looked forward to from their own growing up years.  Traditions can act as a much needed reminder of consistency amidst life's changes.

However, when I think of rituals, I think of those common actions we do in our day to day existence.  Those routines that help create an anchor to our days.  Whether it is the way we make that first cup of coffee or tea each morning, having something baking in the oven when the kids get home from school, or placing the warm throw on the side of the sofa on that first cool day of Fall.

I learned about the need for traditions and rituals from my three favorite "mentors" (all from books) of my early homemaking years: Edith Schaeffer, Anne Ortlund, and Emilie Barnes.  Each woman was unique in her advice and the three together rounded out my Christian homemaking education nicely.

I think most of us spend more time thinking of traditions... and that is not a bad thing at all... but we need to reflect on the little rituals that make up our days.... as our days then become years. For they can be easily overlooked in the sameness of it all.

Many rituals people tend to practice through the years are associated with food since most of us eat three meals a day.  My husband traveled a lot with his work, so we often ordered a pizza the day he left on an airplane.  When we lived in Detroit, my son and I started our day by walking to the nearby diner for breakfast as Dad was on his way to the Detroit International Airport.  (That's why we were watching TV at the diner the morning of 9/11.)

We had a "first day of school" ritual of having breakfast out that morning, which we continued even when we homeschooled.  I can recall the most memorable "first day of school" breakfast at a favorite restaurant as my son was starting Kindergarten that day and my daughter was beginning her first day of college.

I roast a chicken almost every week in colder weather.  I figure if it's good enough for Ina, it is good enough for me.  (For those who have never watched The Barefoot Contessa cooking show, she roasts a chicken every Friday for dinner.)  Of course, I doubt Ina started this weekly meal because it was good for her budget like I did.  I think it had more to do with their Jewish heritage.

I never intended to make roasting a chicken and making soup each week a ritual.  However, like so many things we do regularly, it just happened over time.  Much like when one begins collecting tea cups... once you have three of any item, you have a collection.  Once you do something a few times in a row, you have established a ritual.

I think that the weekly ritual of something so simple as roasting a chicken and the subsequent making of soup offers a bit of sameness... of stability... an anchor in uncertain times.  Although there will be weeks I do not roast a chicken, it isn't cut in stone that I must... most weeks in cold weather we do and I look forward to leftover chicken carcass being transformed into something healthy and delicious.

Emilie Barnes wrote a lot about the importance of daily rituals.  I think of her when I wash dishes in a sink full of hot sudsy water with the fragrance of one of the seasonal Mrs. Meyers scents in the bubbles.  Currently it is the aroma of Apple Cider that transforms a chore one must do when they are tired into a little more enjoyable ritual.  (Emilie had a tiny oil lamp she often lit while doing dishes after dinner.)

As we are on the cusp of November, I am certain my thoughts will turn even more to the subject of rituals and traditions.  Some have changed over the years while others have remained the same.  For instance, it is time to purchase a new jar of silver cream and begin polishing the thrifted silver pieces.  A November tradition that results in... sparkle.


Vee said...

And, pray tell, what polishing cream have you found to be good? I can not believe that the cream I purchased ten years ago has already run dry. 🙃

As I was reading, I thought of the long tradition of Sunday Dinner on both sides of the family. I really liked that one when a roasted chicken was often on the menu. I didn’t keep up with it at all, perhaps because I was so often attending one instead of preparing one. It’s something that I would like to consider again perhaps on a monthly rather than weekly basis. We shall see.

🍁Thanks for being a spark, Brenda.

Carol said...

Many children these days are growing up without rituals and traditions it seems. The generation that are responsible for raising children these days seem to not understand anything about homemaking, cooking, or raising children as well as the importance of these types of things. I know there are a few, but overall it is scary to see the young generation that will soon be the leaders as we know the term.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

For my home making I was mentored by Emilie Barnes, then later Edith Schaefer. I learned so much about rituals from them.

I think many will say the same of you one day, Brenda!

Mrs.T said...

Beautiful, meaningful post, Brenda. Thanks so much for sharing it.

I am happy to say that my own daughters who are currently raising children are making much of traditions and rituals with their children. It definitely makes a difference.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I love this post. I have not the energy I once had (not at all! ) but with some help from my son I still have my younger daughter and granddaughters over every Friday for dinner. I am about to change the plates on the hutch cupboard to the turkey ones which were my grandmothers. I'm looking forward to Advent Sunday sing alongs...And I must polish my mother's silver tea pot. Must! I still have some Maas polish which I bought when you recommended it...

Elizabeth said...

Years ago I had a few food rituals too. Well, then came all the food allergies...and not just for me, but the rest too, by now at least. And other troubles. So such things often get left by the wayside in just simply surviving. Tis nice to do what we can however...